Indian PM Modi's Twitter account hacked

By: News Desk      Published: 10:37 AM, 3 Sep, 2020
Indian PM Modi's Twitter account hacked

The Twitter account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been hacked, the social media giant confirmed Thursday.

Tweets were sent from the prime minister's feed asking for charitable donations using a cryptocurrency, but have since been taken down.

"We're aware of this activity and have taken steps to secure the compromised account. We are actively investigating the situation," a spokesman for Twitter said.

The tech firm said it was not aware of any additional accounts being impacted.

In July former US president Barack Obama and tech bosses Bill Gates and Elon Musk were among dozens of high-profile figures to have their Twitter accounts breached in a massive hack by scammers trying to dupe people into sending bitcoin.

Faked tweets were sent from 45 accounts and the hackers accessed private messages in 36 and downloaded Twitter data from seven, the company said.

The hackers gained access to the system by tricking a handful of employees into giving up their credentials, according to Twitter.

Twitter said it had not found any link between the Modi hack and the July breach.

The account reportedly sent out tweets asking its followers to donate to the PM National Relief Fund through cryptocurrency.

The account goes by the handle narendramodi_in and has 2.5 million followers and over 37,000 tweets since it was created in May 2011.

The last tweet from the account was on August 31. The tweet has a quote of PM Modi from his monthly radio programme "Mann Ki Baat". Regular updates from the Prime Minister's speeches and other programmes are tweeted from @narendramodi_in.

-Celebrity attacks-

Less than two months ago Twitter said 130 accounts were targeted in a major cyber-attack of celebrity accounts. But only a "small subset" of those 130 accounts had control seized by the attacker.

The security breach saw accounts including those of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West and Bill Gates tweet a Bitcoin scam to millions of followers. The FBI was called in to investigate.

The apparent scam spread to mainstream celebrity accounts such as Kim Kardashian West and those of corporations Apple and Uber.

Attackers were able to bypass the accounts' security because they had gained access to Twitter's own internal administration tools.

Twitter said: "Since the attack, we've significantly limited access to our internal tools and systems to ensure ongoing account security while we complete our investigation."

Despite it being obvious to many that it was a scam, the hackers received hundreds of transfers, worth more than $100,000 (£75,000).

Cryptocurrencies are extremely hard to trace and the account the cyber-criminals used had quickly been emptied.